Posts Tagged ‘Needless Things’

Sometime back in the early months of 2015, I was listening to my iPod while out and about and doing my thing. In my playlist that day was the then most recent episode of Needless Things. It was a podcast that I was more and more regularly listening to at the time.

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The Vietnam War had an interesting effect on the Hollywood and smaller studio systems of the 1970s and 1980s. War movies had been a staple of American cinema for about as long as there had been an American cinema, and most of the mainstream war movies had for the longest time a large “Rah, Rah, Sis-Boom-Bah” factor about them. They would occasionally try to slip a ‘look at the horrors of war’ moment into some of them- typically with the death of a beloved character played by a major name actor –but they were largely focused on looking at war as a heroic endeavor that turned men into heroes and heroes into legends. They were the types of films that made young kids want to go out and play soldier with their friends and “die” in a blaze of glory and honor.

Then the Vietnam War hit and a lot of that got turned upside down. America was coming off a war it hadn’t won. Two wars actually, because right before Vietnam there was Korea. Technically, America didn’t really lose either war, but creating films around a war where the ultimate best chant for audiences coming out of theaters could be “We Didn’t Lose” didn’t have the same vibe as being able to declare victory and a world saved from evil by the end of the film. There were no films like The Fighting Seabees to be made where a lead character played by a popular actor could die and it was still okay in the end because he sacrificed himself for the ultimate greater good of the winning war effort.

In the wake of Vietnam, the nature of the American war film changed. Even films being made about WWII started changing how they portrayed war and the effects of war on soldiers. But when Hollywood starting making films about Vietnam? Gone were films like Mister Roberts or To Hell and Back, because Hollywood was now making films like Coming Home and The Deer Hunter. For a time, the war film became the intensely haunting examination of how war destroys man in more ways and more places than just on the battlefield. Even when larger studios geared a film to be more action oriented, there was still a strong focus on the toll the war took on the men who fought it. It’s gotten lost on many thanks to the sequels, but even First Blood was largely centered around how the war had changed and destroyed John Rambo and crew. Some smaller studios might still go the exploitation route, but many still tried to do films with the themes these other films had. Some of them actually worked fairly well. Then there were the films like Ruckus.

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It’s April, April Fools is now nicely behind us, and, for wrestling fans at least, the real reason April as a month has a special place on the calendar is about to happen this coming weekend. The entire company that is the World Wrestling Entertainment has been building towards this weekend since the Monday Night Raw of April 3, 2017, and some fans have been making their plans for this weekend for almost as long. Welcome to the craziness that is the WrestleMania Weekend.

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Thoughts about Jessica Jones, WrestleMania, and Black Lightning.

2014 and 2015 and especially 2016 and 2017 were filled with superheroes on the big screen and the small screen. This has been the case for farther back than 2014, but the last four to five years have been seemingly extremely superhero heavy. Every major movie studio was launching a film with an eye towards starting a franchise, and channels like CW were transforming into Superhero Central. Even streaming services were getting in on the act with exclusive superhero shows in both live action and animated forms. In fandom, the age-old war between the Marvel Zombies and the loyal DC Comics fans had renewed itself and moved to a larger battlefield as Hollywood itself was at times seemingly trying to transform itself into Marvel and DC.

The tipping point was coming fast. The big failure moment was just around the corner. The collapse of the superhero film genre was about to happen with the very next bloated, over the top, four-color abomination the studios were readying to unleash on the superhero fatigued audiences of America.

Well, at least that’s how the world worked according to some of the various social critics, movie critics, and jaded fanboys of the world.

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It’s December. We’re only a few short days away from Christmas. Maybe you’ve discovered you need a few more things to round out your Christmas gift lists. But, let’s face it, even the Suicide Squad would balk at being told they have to go out to a mall or major shopping center this weekend. The zombie hordes that once populated the darkest Romero nightmare about consumerism run amuck have nothing on the terror that’s about to be unleashed upon the already weary sales clerks of this country. Alternately, maybe you need something nice for yourself to help unwind a bit after the Olympic level event that is Christmas prep in the modern age or to look forward to for unwinding with after all the family has gone home and you need a little downtime.

Plus, well, with the suggestions on this list you’ll be helping out independent creators.

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For those of you who have lost interest in The Walking Dead before now or simply never had any interest in it to begin with, you may be unaware of the latest fandom freak-out related to the show. A much beloved and longstanding character for the show is slated to bite the dust when the show returns from its midseason break. This revelation brought about great screams of annoyance and anger from fandom. One of the more extreme headlines written in the wake of this turn of events, “‘The Walking Dead’ Midseason Finale Was Perfect for a Show That Hates Its Fans”, actually captures quite well the fan sentiment I’ve seen in many places this week. As I’ve been reading many similarly themed articles, blog posts, and discussion threads railing against the horrible creative decisions behind doing this atrocious things to the fans and noting in some cases who was complaining about this, I kept having the same thought come into my head over and over again.

Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

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